Hugh Taylor Birch was quite fond of gardens. You’ll find well-tended ones at the Bonnet House, across from this park, but these ones have been left to go wild.
These tropical plants aren’t invasive, and they’re nicely identified along the first half of the circuit. There are more than 200 species within the park.
The Exotic Trail is an old Boy Scout project and connects to other trails in the park, including the Rail Trail and the Mid Trail, enabling you to make loops of either 0.5 mile or 2 miles.
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Location: Fort Lauderdale
Length: 0.5 mile loop
Trailhead: 26.144842, -80.104500
Address: 3109 East Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale
Fees: $6 per vehicle
Restroom: at the visitor center and picnic areas
Land manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM to sunset. Leashed pets permitted but not on beach.
This trail is sometimes used by cyclists, but the first part of it is very narrow and windy. The footpath can be damp and sticky at times. Better to ride up the Rail Trail or the park road.
From Interstate 95 Sunrise Blvd exit north of downtown Fort Lauderdale, drive east on Sunrise over the Intracoastal Waterway. Turn left into the park entrance, 1 mile after you cross US 1. Inside the park, go counterclockwise around the loop drive, park at the first picnic area on the left.
Ask for an interpretive guide for the trail at the ranger station. The trail starts near the last space on the left where parking parallels the picnic area and playground.
Start at the picnic area near the giant banyan tree and walk north until you see the striped palm-like plants. The trail starts here.
Yellow posts with numbers correspond to the guide. The large holes you see in the forest floor belong to giant land crabs.
The park is urban, but a lot of wildlife is afoot, including rabbits, raccoons, lizards, and squirrels.
As the trail wanders through the woods, notice the blooming morning glory amid oddities like arjan from India, natal plum, and the Tarzan-evoking zulu fig.
Where the trail reaches the park road, cross and turn right to walk the Rail Trail along freshwater impoundments back to the parking area to make a 0.5 mile loop.
Or, you can turn left and wander around the park on the Mid Trail for up to 2 miles of walking.
Learn more about what you can do at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
See our photos of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Named for the water lilies that once flourished in the freshwater marsh in front of this grand home, the 35 acres of tropical forest on which the Bonnet House was built was a gift from industrialist Hugh Taylor Birch to his daughter Helen and son-in-law Fredric Clay Bartlett, a noted artist.
In the southern corner of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, the Coastal Hammock Trail traverses a maritime hammock dense with sea grapes, myrsine, gumbo limbo, and stopper
With its shores dwarfed at times by the giant cruise ships steaming in and out of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park is well-known as a great nearshore dive spot